Category Archives: Music

DeWitt Weaves Tapestry of Good Music, Goodwill

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The hard-working Gainesville musician pays tribute to Carole King and her classic 1971 album when the Free Fridays Concert Series returns to Bo Diddley Community Plaza this week.


Cathy DeWitt holds the "Tapestry" album of her mentor Carole King. Photo by Gainesville Downtown)

Cathy DeWitt holds the “Tapestry” album of her mentor Carole King. (Photo by Gainesville Downtown)

Cathy DeWitt and Carole King go way back. Well, at least in the sense that DeWitt, the longtime Gainesville musician, started listening to King more than half a century ago.

“I think I heard some of her early stuff before she became popular,” DeWitt said before singing softly the lyrics to King’s 1962 Top 25 hit “It Might As Well Rain Until September.”

free fridayHolding a copy of King’s iconic 1971 album “Tapestry,” DeWitt sang the praises of the Grammy Award-winning pop artist.

“She’s a brilliant songwriter. I love her sophisticated chords. Her lyrics are great. She plays piano and sings, and that’s what I do, so she has definitely been a major influence on me,” DeWitt said.

On Friday night at Bo Diddley Community Plaza in downtown Gainesville, DeWitt will channel the very best of King during “Tapestry Rewoven—Again!” The concert kicks off 25 consecutive weeks of Free Fridays Concert Series at the plaza, which had been closed for a year to undergo $1.8 million in renovations.

The two-hour music event begins at 8 p.m. DeWitt will be accompanied onstage by some of Gainesville’s best musical talent, including Mike and Carolina Boulware, Brad Bangstad, Heather Hall, Janet and Maggie Rucker, Rob Rothschild, Bruce Shepard and Ron Thomas.

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Gainesville’s Rock History Makes an Excellent Read

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Marty Jourard lived, breathed and actively participated in Gainesville’s vibrant music scene in the 1960s and ’70s. Forty years later, he’s written about it.


Music_Everywhere_RGBMarty Jourard’s new book, “Music Everywhere: The Rock and Roll Roots of a Southern Town,” chronicles a golden era during which Gainesville was home to eight future Rock and Roll Hall of Famers and a slew of other young musicians who pursued their passion with fervor.

On Thursday at the Matheson History Museum, Jourard will officially launch his book with a presentation and question-and-answer session starting at 6 p.m. Later in the evening, he will sign copies of “Music Everywhere,” which the museum will make available for purchase.

“I suspect that this will be the definitive book about that period,” Jourard said last week in a phone interview from his home near Seattle.

Jourard flew into Gainesville earlier this week and has spent much of his time rehearsing for a Friday night gig at High Dive. He will be resurrecting Road Turkey, the band he formed during his teenage years in Gainesville.

Joining Jourard, a keyboardist and sax player, will be former bandmates Steve Soar on guitar and Stan Lynch on drums. Richy Stano, renowned guitar instructor at Santa Fe College, will play bass. The band will perform an eclectic mix of familiar tunes from the day.

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‘Carmina Burana’: Dance Alive’s Golden Moment

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It’s a busy weekend for Dance Alive National Ballet as the Gainesville-based touring company stages a lavish production of Carmina Burana and celebrates its 50th season with a Golden Gala. 


Carmina Burana is a spectacle to behold. Photo by Johnston Photography)

Carmina Burana is a spectacle to behold. (Photo by Johnston Photography)

To put an exclamation point on its 50th season, Dance Alive National Ballet sought a performance that was dramatic and spectacular. Something glorious.

Fhilipe Teixeira and Carla Amacio put feeling into Adam and Eve. Photo by Gainesville Downtown)

Fhilipe Teixeira and Carla Amacio put feeling into Adam and Eve during Tuesday’s rehearsal at Pofahl Studios. (Photo by Gainesville Downtown)

Carmina Burana, in so many ways, fits the bill.

“It’s lusty. It’s spiritual. It’s biblical. How can you miss?” said Kim Tuttle, executive artistic director of Dance Alive. “It’s a huge production!”

Some might even say epic. Carmina Burana involves 250 performers, including dozens of dancers, the UF Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Raymond Chobaz, the University Concert Choir and Gainesville Master Chorale under the direction of Will Kesling and three guest soloists in what is billed as “a celebration of the secular joys of life.”

This weekend, Dance Alive National Ballet will stage two performances of Carmina Burana at UF’s Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. There will be a Friday night show at 7:30 and a Saturday matinee at 2.

The weekend will be topped off Saturday night by Dance Alive’s Golden Gala at the Touchdown Terrace high above UF’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The fundraising event will include a silent auction, an art sale and a special “Dancing with the Stars” competition featuring Dance Alive’s principal dancers paired with a dozen local celebrities and community leaders. The event will be streamed live so that people can vote for their favorite duo.

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Bradley Concert Just the Beginning of Changeville

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Several downtown venues will participate in the music and comedy festival that is part of the annual frank gathering promoting social change.


Charles Bradley, on the cover of his Changes album.

Charles Bradley, on the cover of his Changes album.

Tonight, with a little music to keep you warm, Gainesville becomes Changeville.

Most everyone has already heard about the Charles Bradley concert that will mark the re-opening of Bo Diddley Community Plaza, but that event is only one part of a long evening of entertainment at a half-dozen venues throughout downtown Gainesville.

Once Bradley leaves the stage, events at High Dive, Market Street Pub and the Wooly shift into gear with live music and comedy. Meanwhile, the Hippodrome Cinema and Volta Coffee will already be participating with films and virtual-reality displays.

According to its organizers at the UF College of Journalism and Communications, Changeville is “a film, virtual reality, music and comedy festival where artists of purpose can connect.”

The night of events is the general public’s portion of the college’s annual gathering known as frank, a three-day conference at the Hippodrome designed to inspire social change through use of media. This year’s seventh frank conference, which continues through Friday, features about 340 attendees and more than 40 speakers.

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Bo Diddley Plaza Ready for Close-Up

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After a year of construction, the City of Gainesville is ready to unveil a new look and feel to its main downtown gathering space. Improvements include new buildings, landscaping, lighting, acoustics and a cool water wall illuminated with LED lights.


An artists rendering of the new "front porch" of the Bo Diddley Plaza.

An artist’s rendering of the new “front porch” of Bo Diddley Plaza, featuring four water walls (in blue).

Starting Thursday night, when soul singer Charles Bradley performs in concert, Bo Diddley Community Plaza will finally be a happening place again.

diddleyThe public square in the middle of downtown Gainesville has undergone more than a facelift during the past year—it has experienced a $1.8 million renaissance!

The entire north side of the plaza is new, including a decorative water wall, two new outbuildings and an expanded backstage area with large dressing rooms and new airport-style restrooms. The improvements extend around to the stage area, where new speakers and lighting will enhance the concertgoer experience.

“It’s a dramatic difference,” said Nathalie McCrate, a project manager for the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), the City of Gainesville agency overseeing the project.

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SoMa Art Media Hub Turns 1 With Bash

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To commemorate the anniversary, the Gainesville Arts Market and Gainesville Art Scene are hosting an expanded event that will include local musicians, artists, crafts, vendors, food trucks and beer. 


Celino Dimitroff stands in front of the store he co-owns with Charley McWhorter. Photos by Gainesville Downtown

Celino Dimitroff stands in front of the arts supply store he co-owns with Charley McWhorter. (Photos by Gainesville Downtown)

Nothing pleases Celino Dimitroff more than seeing a steady stream of customers—typically UF architecture students and local artists—browsing his SoMa Art Media Hub and finding what they’re looking for.

After all, that’s why Dimitroff and fellow artist Charley McWhorter decided to open their retail space at 601 S. Main St. one year ago this month.

“I think this is a wonderful store, and it’s something Gainesville has needed—a resource for arts supplies,” said Roz Miller, a longtime resident and abstract artist.

To mark the store’s first anniversary, SoMa Art Media Hub is throwing a party in the form of a larger-than-usual Gainesville Arts Market today from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in the shaded parking area behind the store. There will be live music from five acts, food trucks and more than 30 artists and vendors offering their work—from T-shirts and jewelry to visual art and Henna tats.

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Hardback Café is Back for an Encore

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Sixteen years after closing its doors next to the Hippodrome, the Hardback Café is up and operating again at a new address—and still aiming the spotlight on local bands.

Owner Alan Bushnell behind the bar at the new Hardback Café.

Owner Alan Bushnell behind the bar at the new Hardback Café.

Alan Bushnell has been doing a lot of catching up with old friends these days now that he has reopened the Hardback Café in a two-story space in downtown Gainesville.

On a recent evening, Chris Wollard dropped by to scope out the Hardback’s new location at 211 W. University Ave. The longtime singer and guitarist for the punk-rock band Hot Water Music also wanted to congratulate Bushnell—and to thank him.
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Charles Bradley Concert to Re-Open Bo Diddley Plaza

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Closed since early this year for extensive renovations, the Bo Diddley Community Plaza re-opens Feb. 25 with a free concert featuring the Gainesville-born R&B singer.

diddley

Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley, a Gainesville native known for his soulful and captivating stage presence, will make his first-ever hometown appearance when the Bo Diddley Community Plaza re-opens on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016.

The free concert, from 6-10 p.m, is part of frank2016, an annual gathering of public-interest communicators sponsored by the UF College of Journalism and Communications.

The public event will also feature live art by 352Creates, performances by local bands and a variety of food trucks and micro-brews.

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Fest 14: Downtown Embraces 10,000 Diehard Punk-Rock Fans

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The punk-rock extravaganza takes place for the 14th time in Gainesville, drawing music lovers from around the United States and the world to the downtown area. The biggest winners are restaurants and bars — and the hundreds of bands and their fans.


fest artThis is the one weekend Danny Hughes looks forward to every year and, strangely enough, it has absolutely nothing to do with the Florida-Georgia football game in Jacksonville.

It has everything to do with his punk friends.

“I have friends from all over the world who come to town once a year, on the last weekend of October, and I love hanging out with them,” said Hughes, owner of Loosey’s restaurant and bar at 120 SW 1st Ave.

Those friends come to Gainesville not just to visit with Hughes but primarily to enjoy Fest, a three-day underground music festival that celebrates the punk-rock scene. Organizers of the event have lined up more than 350 bands to perform 30-minute sets at 20 venues within walking distance of downtown. Fest will draw upwards of 10,000 hardcore music fans to town.

For Gainesville, it’s a big deal. For most downtown business owners (to quote a certain follically challenged presidential candidate), it’s HUGE!

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